Student profile: Shawn Bain, educator of adults
Shawn Bain is a student in the Master of Adult Education program here at CityU. He has overcome many challenges and showed amazing resilience throughout his educational journey. Shawn will graduate it June.
Tell us about your background.
In 2011, when I was about to finish my bachelor’s degree, I started working with refugees, in part because I really enjoy working with adults, and partly because my wife is Chinese and she told me, “I love my country and I never plan to leave.” I also needed teaching experience. After obtaining my TOEFL certification, I left for China to teach. Once I emigrated back to the US, I couldn’t find a job in education and it was clear I needed a master’s degree.
Why did you start an adult education program?
In 1996 I lived and worked in Tacoma as a Combat Singular for the Army, and I wanted to return to Seattle so I could continue to teach. In 2014 my wife and I resettled in Seattle. After six months of employment rejections and countless people telling me I needed to get my master’s degree, I finally listened. With the help of the VA, I was accepted into CityU.
What are your future career aspirations?
I entered the adult education program because I enjoy working with adults. At this stage in my life, a master’s degree will most likely be the end of my formal education, so I hope to be working with community college second language learners or with the VA in giving back to the military community. My dream occupation would be to teach social science.
You are a resilient person. Describe a moment when you felt overwhelmed but you still got the job done.
In 2000 I bought a public payphone company from a previous employer. I took on the challenges of owner, accountant, maintenance, installer, revenue counter, receptionist, sales, and contract dispute. Around 2007, I added full-time student to that list. It was not uncommon for me to work late at night so I could make it to class.
The days and weeks were long and stressful and I often found myself weighing the priorities of school and work. On average I drove 3500 miles a month and at times I found myself doing homework on the road between jobs.
What tips do you have for other students that can help them overcome hard times while in school?
If you truly want something enough, you will find the motivation and time to accomplish it. The positive support from my wife and family has also kept me going.
Another method I used was hanging up my future graduation cap as a reminder of what is to come. Do not listen to self-defeatist voices in your head – they will try to undo all that you have accomplished. Finally, reach out to your school’s faculty and or staff and let them know what you need in order to accomplish your goals.
Your professors and instructors want you to succeed.
Thank you Shawn, for sharing! Shawn is correct – we do want you to succeed and these inspiring stories keep us motivated every day.